Thursday, January 12, 2012

Partying Drunk on the Spirits


We just finished up the holidays and many of us had a great time celebrating the new year.  New Years Eve is a night known for parties, but it is not the only night known for parties.  There are Superbowl parties, birthday parties, bachelor parties, and more.  For any event we can think of, there is probably a party to celebrate it.  The world parties one way, but how is the Christian supposed to party?  Should we be like the world and get drunk, crazy, and maybe even a little promiscuous as we commemorate events?  Should beer pong be among the games we play?  The answer is an emphatic "No!"  We are not of this world any longer and we should not model our celebrations after that of a fallen world. 
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told [you] in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.   Galatians 5:19-21 NKJV
What I find truly ironic is that many of the teachers who like to teach against repentance use Galatians as their go-to book.  They usually stop short of chapter 5, though, is it ruins their entire theology.  While it is true there is no work we can or should even try to add to our salvation, God works in us after salvation.  We are saved by faith and not of works but after we are saved, there should be change in our lives.  The whole idea that we can be Christians while sinning just like everyone else in the world is denial of just about the entire New Testament.  This change is not a means to earn or maintain our salvation, but the result of being saved.  If you are lacking any effect, you need to examine whether there even was a cause. 

So what does this verse have to do with parties?  Many parties have just about all of these characteristics.  How many adulterous relationship resulted from a night of drunken partying?  How many men and women engaged in fornication at a party after getting drunk?  Uncleanness goes without saying as the very idea of having a drunken party is unclean.  Lewdness also goes hand in hand with some of the activities, jokes, and attire common at many parties.  Hatred, contentions, and jealousies are all amplified in a drunken setting as are outbursts of wrath.  Drunkenness is par for the course and if you are still not satisfied that a drinking party is not appropriate for a Christian, God tells us that revelries also are wrong.  A revelry is a drinking party. 

These are the works of the flesh and their practice is of no small consequence.  The Bible says plainly "of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told [you] in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. "  In other words, Paul is saying that he said it before and he is saying it now that those who practice these things will not inherit the kingdom of God.  Please note that Paul does not say (as he does in other places) that drunks or revelers will not inherit the kingdom with the qualifier that those are what we once were.  This time Paul says those who practice these things.  That means not if you are associated as being being someone who once did those things, but someone who practices them now.  This is pretty serious.  If you practice such things, you will not inherit the kingdom of God.  If you are not inheriting the kingdom it means you are not a coheir with Christ.  If you are not a coheir with Christ, it means you are not a child of God.  If you not a child of God, it means you are not saved. 

That should be sobering.  Please do not argue with me on this point, but argue with God because I merely quote His word which is plain and clear as can be.  If you practice a fleshly sinful life, you are no child of His.  Does this mean that if you slip up and get drunk at a party, you give up your salvation?  The good news is that is not what Paul is saying.  Paul is not talking about the Christian who trips up and sins from time to time but Paul is talking about someone in which there is no change in life.  Paul is talking about those who do these things and feel no shame. Paul is talking not about someone who errs, but someone who chooses any, some, or all of these things as a way of life.  Paul is talking about the unredeemed unregenerate man who may have deceived himself into believing he was a Christian.  Paul is not talking about those who give up their salvation, in fact he just got finished arguing that salvation is a free gift and no works can be added to it.  Paul is talking about those who were never saved to begin with.  Paul is saying, basically, that if there is no effect you have to question whether there was a cause.  Coming to Christ is free, but it will cause change in your life.

I was listening to a message this morning from Chuck Smith and he was talking about taking the Lord's name in vain and made a wonderful point.  He said that the greatest blasphemy is not some potty mouthed fool who is constantly spouting "Jesus Christ!"  The greatest blasphemy is is when we take on the Lord's name in that we call ourselves a Christian but to no effect in our lives.  It is the Christian who goes to church on Sunday but other than that you would never know that he even calls himself a Christian.  That truly is taking the Lord's name in vain as opposed to the mindless exclamation made by someone in the heat of a moment.  That is the worldly person I am writing about today.  They may go to church, they may know the songs, they may even claim they are Christian, but when you look at the fruit of their lives what you see is a lifestyle of sin.  Those are the ones the Bible is speaking of when it tells us to examine ourselves to see if we are really in the faith. 

The point is that we are saved by grace through faith alone.  Nothing we can ever do can earn or add to our salvation.  The story does not end there, though.  When we are saved, it is not just a change in status, but a change of everything.  We are new creations in Christ. We are filled with the Holy Spirit.  We have accepted Jesus as Lord of our lives.  We are children of God and coheirs with Christ.  We have died to sin and should no longer live in it.  We are no longer of the world.  That is what the Bible says and those new realities will have an effect on your life.  If there has been no effect, if you are living just as the world does and as you always have, you really need to examine yourselves.  The Bible makes it clear that those who practice such things as revelries and drunkenness will not inherit the kingdom of God.  If you slip up and fall into sin, confess it and move on as God has forgiven you.  If you still have that desire to get drunk and party just the like the world, and you act on that desire with any kind of regularity, then you really need to spend some time in self examination.  When we stand before Jesus, he will not be looking for those who merely pretend or claim to be Christians, but He will be looking for those who actually are Christian. 

If you claim the cause but have no effect on your life, then you really need to ask yourself if you have ever given your heart to Jesus.  Is it just something you say or something you believe?  Is it a image you want people to believe or does it define who you are?  The answers to these questions are between you and God.  If you are in the position, I urge you to have that conversation with yourself and with Him.  Is the fruit of your life that of the flesh, or is the fruit of your life that of the spirit? 
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those [who are] Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Galatians 5:22-24 NKJV

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